Early results of the NEST project show promise in Europe
Every year on May 9, Europeans celebrate Europe Day, a moment to commemorate peace and unity throughout the continent. Across Teach For All’s Europe region, network partners exemplify this unity as they collaborate on projects in pursuit of a shared goal of building a more equitable Europe where all children have access to the education, support, and opportunity to fulfill their potential.
Since 2016, the Teach For All network has been collaborating with the European Commission in multi-stakeholder partnerships to develop innovative education policies that lead to systemic change. Today, representatives of five Teach For All partners in Europe and the network’s global organisation gathered with public authorities and other stakeholders at the Ministry of Education of Romania to discuss the progress and impact of its current collaboration, the Novice Educator Support and Training (NEST) project. An Erasmus+ project, NEST aims to trigger policy reform to support novice teachers working in disadvantaged contexts through seven pilot programs in five EU countries during two school years.
Across the seven pilots, NEST partners have been training mentors who have provided support to novice teachers in their contexts. Throughout, an evaluation team has been conducting an assessment of the policy experimentation through questionnaires. The results from the first year of experimentation (school year 2021-2022) demonstrate that NEST mentors find both the NEST curriculum and the NEST mentor training programme useful through all pilots.
While the project is ongoing, the early results have already supported policy reform in at least one of its pilots in Spain, led by Teach For All network partner Empieza por Educar. Based on the NEST awareness activities and results, the public authorities in Catalonia have launched a novice teacher training and support pilot program called “Sensei,” which will support 250 novice teachers in 60 schools by pairing them with 85 experienced teachers who will act as mentors. The program recognizes that mentoring is a crucial tool for ensuring that new teachers feel supported and empowered. As a result, novice teachers are able to make a positive impact on the well-being and learning of students from the outset of their careers.
In Romania, effective collaboration between the Ministry of Education, Teach For Romania, and other local partners has resulted in the inclusion of a proposal developed by Teach For Romania around the need to increase initial and continuous training for teachers in the next bill for education. In this context, partners have expressed their willingness to use NEST project results as arguments to support the new legislation, and the Ministry of Education is reforming the Law of Education (2011) with an addenda for the teaching career that includes the topic of mentoring. Representatives from Teach For Romania who were part of the working groups for improving the existing legislation ensured that the importance of mentoring for novice teachers as a mandatory stage in their professional life was written into the proposal.
The success of NEST is largely due to the way in which the consortium collaborates with public authorities and other education stakeholders, including teachers unions and school associations. The final results of the NEST project will be made available by the end of 2023 and will be shared through more than six events that will take place across the EU. The final NEST event will take place in Brussels during the first quarter of 2024.
Visit the NEST website to learn more about this project.